Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve

UGATIPA7
Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve

Country: Uganda

Administrative region: Western (Region)

Central co-ordinates: 0.27544 S, 30.23853 E

Area: 384km²

Qualifying IPA Criteria

A(i)Site contains one or more globally threatened species, B(ii)Site contains an exceptional number of species of high conservation importance

IPA assessment rationale

Kasyoha-Kitomi is recognised as an IPA under sub-criterion A(i). One Critically Endangered, five Endangered and six Vulnerable species are known from this site. Urgent research is needed to establish if four of these species are still extant at this site, particularly Diospyros katendei which is only known from this site globally. With six species range-restricted or endemic species this site also meets sub-criterion B(ii), representing an exceptional number of species of high conservation importance. Finally sub-criterion C(iii) is triggered by the presence of Lake Victoria drier peripheral semi-evergreen Guineo-Congolian rainforest (CR). Kibale encompasses close to 7% of the national resource of this habitat and is one of the five best sites nationally.

Site description

Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve covers 384 km2 in area and falls within the districts of Bushenyi, Ibanda and Kamwenge of Uganda’s Western Region. Located within the Albertine Rift Area, the site is around 25 km east of Lake Edward and 10 km south of Lake George. The Kyambura River runs through this site, meeting the Kazinga Channel downstream between these two lakes.
The site was surveyed in 2023 as part of fieldwork for the Uganda TIPAs project.

Botanical significance

Kasyoha-Kitomi is an important site for national and Albertine Rift endemics, many of which are threatened. Of great importance is Diospyros katendei, a Critically Endangered tree that is endemic to Kasyoha-Kitomi and is only known from a single individual. Searches have been undertaken to locate this species in recent years but there have been no further individuals found and, as a Diospyros species, it is highly likely to have been targeted for its high-quality timber (IUCN SSC East African Plants Red List Authority 2013). Another threatened tree species Ficus katendei (EN), similarly named after the Ugandan botanist Anthony Katende, may have also been extirpated from this site. While this species is found at one other site, Bwindi-Impenetrable National Park, the only known individual at Kasyoha-Kitomi was felled to build a bridge (Gereau et al., In prep.). However, there are large areas of Kasyoha-Kitomi that have yet to be search for either of these species and, therefore, it is possible that they are still extant at this site. Further research is urgently needed, particularly given the threats to this site, to understand whether there is an opportunity to conserve D. katendei and F. katendei here; particularly for the former of the two which may be saved from extinction through conservation at Kasyoha-Kitomi.
This IPA is also of great conservation importance for several other threatened species. Kasyoha-Kitomi is, for instance, the only site nationally from which Aframomum spiroligulatum is known and one of only two protected areas globally in which this species occurs. In addition, another Endangered species Uvariodendron magnificum, was described as a “dominant understorey tree” when collected in 1969 (Synott #540) and has been collected more recently in 2017. This species is endemic to Uganda and Kasyoha-Kitomi likely represents the most important site for this species nationally. This IPA is also an important site for Brachystephanus roseus, an Albertine Rift endemics known from only two other protected areas in Uganda.
Six Vulnerable species are known from this IPA. One of these species, Musanga leo-errarae, was collected during 2023 fieldwork by the Uganda TIPAs team at this site. This tree is an Albertine Rift endemic and occurs occasionally in recently opened gaps in the canopy at Kasyoha-Kitomi. Another Vulnerable species recorded on fieldwork is Rinorea tshingandaensis, this species was uncommon at this site and globally only known from Uganda and eastern D.R. Congo (Kalema & Beentje, 2012). Two other Vulnerable species, Crotalaria adenocarpoides and Vernonia parapetersii, were collected in 1970 on Lubare Ridge in rocky, grassland habitats (Lye #5473, 5480). In recent decades, large areas of this grassland have been replaced by forest plantation and some small-scale agriculture (Google Earth 2023). Some small areas of Lubare Ridge continue to support grassland and so it is of great importance that further surveys are undertaken to ascertain whether these grassland species persist within this IPA.
Vulnerable timber tree Mimusops bagshawei was likely observed on fieldwork in 2023 for the Uganda TIPAs project, although it was not possible to collect leaf or fertile material to confirm this determination. This fieldwork did, however, find a new record of Massularia acuminata and Rytigynia bagshawei var. lebrunii for both Uganda and the Flora of Tropical East Africa region. There are likely several more plant species that are of botanical significance at this site. Further research is needed, particularly in harder to access sections, to fully categorise its biodiversity importance.
In addition to species of conservation importance, Kasyoha-Kitomi is also a key site for the conservation of Lake Victoria drier peripheral semi-evergreen Guineo-Congolian rainforest. This habitat has been assessed as Critically Endangered nationally (Richard et al., In review), and is thought to have been more widespread in western Uganda. Kasyoha-Kitomi CFR is one of the best sites nationally for conserving this species.

Habitat and geology

Kasyoha-Kitomi occupies a hilly landscape, reaching a maximum altitude of 2108 m in the northeast, and is geologically complex including quartzites, schists, gneisses, shales and phyllites in the underlying rocks (Howard 1991). The site is dominated by moist forest. Langdale-Brown et al. (1964) classify this forest as mixture of Parinari Forest and Albiza-Markhamia Forest. Our surveys of this site were largely limited to the westerly edges of the reserve within moist, well-developed, secondary forest where species such as Shirakiopsis and Strombosia were common.

Conservation issues

Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve was established in 1932. With neighbouring protected areas Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kyambura Wildlife Reserve, Kalinzu and Kakasi Central Forest Reserves, Kasyoha-Kitomi forms part of a conservation corridor from Fort Portal to the D.R. Congo border south of Lake Edward (UNEP-WCMC and IUCN 2022).
The site has previously experienced high-levels of disturbance through pitsawing, covering well over half of the reserve area, however, the steep topology has prevented mechanised tree felling (Howard 1991). The site continues to be threatened by gold mining, at the Kitaka deposit in the north-east, with a prospecting license covering 40 km2 granted to Simba mining group. The mining and associated access roads have clearly led to deforestation at this site (Google Earth 2023; Global Forest Watch 2023). The chairman of Simba group was reported to have claimed that, for every tree cut at the site, 40 more would be planted (Daily Monitor 2013). There are no further details of such a commitment and as such it is unlikely to be binding.
Tea plantations cover large areas of land to the south of the site, landowners and tea estates have previously bought out small-scale farmers leaving them with little land to cultivate (Raben et al. 2007). In turn, shortage of land, combined with high population densities in the area, puts pressure on the habitats of Kasyoha-Kitomi and has led agricultural encroachment and illegal harvesting of timber and charcoal production (Bitariho and Babaasa 2016).
Community Forest Management (CFM) at the site was established by Nature Uganda within the Participatory Environmental Management project between 2007-2011, to curb these threats. Several CFM groups continue to work with site managers. Forest plantations within the site were established outside existing natural forests (BirdLife International 2008). Much of this forestry appears to be on Lubare Ridge, however, satellite imagery shows this area to have no forest cover in previous decades (Google Earth 2023). In addition, the hilly grasslands of the south of reserve have been given over to small-scale tea plantations, while cattle are grazed in rocky infertile areas (Raben et al. 2007). This loss of habitat has conservation implications for Vulnerable grassland species Crotalaria adenocarpoides and Vernonia parapetersii (see “Botanical Significance”).

Ecosystem services

Kasyoha-Kitomi is an important watershed, regulating water supply to local communities and to Lake George (Raben et al. 2007). The IPA is also a source of timber for local communities as part of a Collaborative Management Forest scheme (BirdLife International 2008). In the south of the reserve, there are tea plantations and there is regulated collection of firewood and non-timber forest products at this site.
Kasyoha-Kitomi also provides important habitat for primates, including chimpanzee, and several range-restricted species of bird (Bitariho and Babaasa 2016). In turn, ecotourists visit the site and there are some hiking trails within the site.

Site assessor(s)

Sophie Richards, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Iain Darbyshire, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

IPA criterion A species

Species Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 1% of global population ≥ 5% of national population 1 of 5 best sites nationally Entire global population Socio-economically important Abundance at site
Brachystephanus roseus Champl. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Dasylepis eggelingii J.B.Gillett A(i) True False False False False Occasional
Uvariodendron magnificum Verdc. A(i) True True True False False Frequent
Vernonia parapetersii C.Jeffrey A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Diospyros katendei Verdc. A(i) True True True True False Scarce
Ficus katendei Verdc. A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Polystachya hastata Summerh. A(i) False True True False False Unknown
Balsamocitrus dawei Stapf A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Musanga leo-errerae Hauman & J.Léonard A(i) False True True False False Occasional
Aframomum spiroligulatum Lock & A.D.Poulsen A(i) True True True False False Unknown
Crotalaria adenocarpoides Taub. A(i) True False False False False Unknown
Rinorea tshingandaensis Taton A(i) True False True False False Occasional

Brachystephanus roseus Champl.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Dasylepis eggelingii J.B.Gillett

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Occasional

Uvariodendron magnificum Verdc.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Frequent

Vernonia parapetersii C.Jeffrey

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Diospyros katendei Verdc.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
True
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Scarce

Ficus katendei Verdc.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Polystachya hastata Summerh.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Balsamocitrus dawei Stapf

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Musanga leo-errerae Hauman & J.Léonard

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
False
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Occasional

Aframomum spiroligulatum Lock & A.D.Poulsen

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
True
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Crotalaria adenocarpoides Taub.

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
False
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Unknown

Rinorea tshingandaensis Taton

Qualifying sub-criterion:
A(i)
≥ 1% of global population:
True
≥ 5% of national population:
False
1 of 5 best sites nationally:
True
Entire global population:
False
Socio-economically important:
False
Abundance at site:
Occasional

IPA criterion C qualifying habitats

Habitat Qualifying sub-criterion ≥ 5% of national resource ≥ 10% of national resource 1 of 5 best sites nationally Areal coverage at site
Lake Victoria drier peripheral semi-evergreen Guineo-Congolian rainforest (CR) C(iii) True False True 268.3

Lake Victoria drier peripheral semi-evergreen Guineo-Congolian rainforest (CR)

Qualifying sub-criterion:
C(iii)
≥ 5% of national resource:
True
≥ 10% of national resource:
False
Areal coverage at site:
268.3

General site habitats

General site habitat Percent coverage Importance
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest No value Major
Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest No value Major
Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland No value Minor
Artificial - Terrestrial - Plantations No value Minor
Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land No value Minor

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Grassland - Subtropical/Tropical High Altitude Grassland

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Artificial - Terrestrial - Plantations

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Artificial - Terrestrial - Arable Land

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Land use types

Land use type Percent coverage Importance
Nature conservation No value Major
Agriculture (arable) No value Minor
Forestry No value Minor

Nature conservation

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Major

Agriculture (arable)

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Forestry

Percent coverage:
No value
Importance:
Minor

Threats

Threat Severity Timing
Energy production & mining - Mining & quarrying High Ongoing - increasing
Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Medium Ongoing - trend unknown
Agriculture & aquaculture - Wood & pulp plantations Medium Ongoing - trend unknown
Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting - Intentional use: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is the target) [harvest] Medium Ongoing - trend unknown

Energy production & mining - Mining & quarrying

Severity:
High
Timing:
Ongoing - increasing

Agriculture & aquaculture - Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Agriculture & aquaculture - Wood & pulp plantations

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Biological resource use - Logging & wood harvesting - Intentional use: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is the target) [harvest]

Severity:
Medium
Timing:
Ongoing - trend unknown

Protected areas

Protected area name Protected area type Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve Forest Reserve (conservation) protected/conservation area matches IPA 384

Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve

Protected area type:
Forest Reserve (conservation)
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area matches IPA
Areal overlap:
384

Conservation designation

Designation name Protected area Relationship with IPA Areal overlap
Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve Important Bird Area protected/conservation area matches IPA 384
Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve Key Biodiversity Area protected/conservation area matches IPA 384

Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve

Protected area:
Important Bird Area
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area matches IPA
Areal overlap:
384

Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve

Protected area:
Key Biodiversity Area
Relationship with IPA:
protected/conservation area matches IPA
Areal overlap:
384

Management type

Management type Description Year started Year finished
Protected Area management plan in place No value No value

Protected Area management plan in place

Year started:
No value
Year finished:
No value

Bibliography

Howard, P. C., 1991

Nature Conservation in Uganda’s Tropical Forest Reserves

IUCN & UNEP-WCMC, 2022

The World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)

Available online

Langdale-Brown, I., Osmaston, H. A., & Wilson, J. G., 1964

The Vegetation of Uganda and its Bearing on Land-Use

IUCN SSC East African Plants Red List Authority, 2013

Diospyros katendei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T35799A47348409.

Available online

Gereau, R.E., Beentje, H.J., Kabuye, C., Luke, W.R.Q., Nshutiyayesu, S. & Ntore, S., In prep.

Ficus katendei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Google Earth, 2023

Google Earth Pro 2023

World Resources Institute, 2023

Global Forest Watch 2023

Available online

Daily Monitor, 2013

Mining firm breathes new life into Kitaka gold deposits

Available online

Raben, K., Nyingi, J., Loserian, D., Akello, Z. & Kidoido, M., 2007

Kasyoha-Kitomi Landscape, Uganda Report: Local Stakeholders' Use of Forest Reserves in Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Landscape, Uganda And Nguru South Forest Landscape, Tanzania

Available online

Bitariho, R. & Babaasa, D., 2016

The Status of Biodiversity in Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve: A Survey Report

Available online

BirdLife International, 2008

Important Bird Areas factsheet: Kasyoha-Kitomi Forest Reserve

Available online

Richards, S., Kalema, J., Ojelel, S., Williams, J. & Darbyshire, I., In review

Improving the application of Important Plant Areas to conserve threatened habitats: a case study of Uganda

Conservation Science and Practice

Recommended citation

Sophie Richards, Iain Darbyshire (2024) Tropical Important Plant Areas Explorer: Kasyoha-Kitomi Central Forest Reserve (Uganda). https://tipas.kew.org/site/kasyoha-kitomi-central-forest-reserve/ (Accessed on 21/05/2024)